BioShock Infinite DLC revisits Rapture, lets you play with Elizabeth

Irrational Games has just revealed details about the long-awaited DLC for their Game of The Year contender, BioShock Infinite.

The DLC will come in three parts. The first one, entitled “Clash in the Clouds”, will have players return to the beautiful floating city of Columbia to partake in a series of combat-heavy challenges. The other two will be story-driven and will let players take control of the original game’s main two protagonists. Yes, that means exactly how it sounds: Elizabeth, one of gaming’s best artificially intelligent companions since Half-Life 2’s Alyx Vance, will be a playable character this time around.

But slipping into Elizabeth’s ribcage-crushing corset is just a slice of what makes “Burial at Sea” so intriguing. You see, the new story won’t be taking place in Columbia. No, in this new story, we will be returning to the haunting, sodden playground of those creepy Little Sisters and their rumbling behemoth protectors, the Big Daddies. That’s right; in Burial at Sea, Booker DeWitt and Elizabeth will be raising hell in BioShock 1 and 2’s Rapture.

Clash in the Clouds

In Clash in the Clouds, “people get a pure action experience that takes BioShock Infinite combat to its highest challenge and intensity level,” said Ken Levine, Irrational creative director and the mastermind behind the BioShock series.

According to Joystiq, Clash in the Clouds is basically an arena combat mode. Players can choose from four different maps: The Ops Zeal, Duke & Dimwit Theater, Raven’s Dome and Emporia Arcade. In each of them, players will get to massacre 15 waves of bad guys. Every wave will come with “blue ribbon challenges”, which will require certain objectives to be achieved. There are also monetary rewards to killing enemies in particular ways. For example, headshots will give you more money that crotch shots, despite the latter sounding a lot more painful.

Cash earned can be spent on The Columbian Archeological Society, an in-game trophy museum where players can unlock and view concept art, videos, and 3d character models. So now you can zoom in on Booker’s face and admire all the pores on his nose. Or engage in a staring contest with Elizabeth and her giant, adorable, Disney-esque eyes. For those hungry for more Columbia lore, Voxophones and Kinetoscopes will reveal additional backstory about the world’s many denizens.

This DLC is already available on Steam, PSN and Xbox 360 for $5.

Burial at sea

The first half of 2013 introduced us to a veritable holy trinity of strong female characters: Ellie from The Last of Us; the rebooted Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft; and of course, BioShock Infinite’s Elizabeth. But while the first two games allowed players to take control of their respective female leads, Elizabeth was, for the entire duration of BioShock Infinite, the computer-controlled companion of the only playable male character.

Burial at Sea aims to change all that. The first episode will put players in the familiar shoes of Booker DeWitt. The second one, however, will have Elizabeth as the main character. Levine offered some juicy tidbits regarding how her episode, which will be a totally different experience from Booker’s, will go back to the BioShock series’ survival horror roots.

“When you play Elizabeth, it’s even more towards a survival horror game,” said Levine. “I just played the first prototype of her the other day. We’re almost in beta on part one of the Rapture one. We’re at sort of early stages of the second part, where you play Elizabeth, but I’ve played a prototype of what it’s like to play her. It feels very different. We’re mostly working on the systems side to make things feel different.”

As Elizabeth isn’t the bullet-absorbing meat tank that Booker is, she will have to rely on strategy instead of going out with guns blazing.

“Elizabeth is much more fragile, in terms of in terms of combat,” explained Levine. “She’s not going to go and wade into it with a Big Daddy. She has to really set up the experience to work for her. She has a sort of combination of Thief and Tecmo’s Deception. There was a game called Trapt on the PS2, I think, that was in the same franchise. Getting her to use the environment, using tears to create things in the environment to lure people into and sneak up on people and avoid people, that’s very much a part of being Elizabeth. It’s an experiment. Every time you go away from the known model, you’re experimenting with things, but we really wanted Elizabeth to feel different. The audience will judge how successful we are. We’re still relatively early on that part.”

As for the setting, it will take place in Rapture, according to IGN and Computer and Video Games. The story starts on the ill-fated night before the events that would transform the aquatic utopia into an undersea madhouse.

“The story takes place on New Year’s Eve, 1958, which is the night that the bombing happened in the original Rapture and the revolution started,” Levine told Eurogamer, “and we were really excited, having done all the work on the population – a living, breathing population in Columbia – because Rapture was a tomb, y’know? Originally we wanted to show Rapture when it was fully alive, but do it in the context of an interesting story, not just to go back and talk about Midi-chlorians, you know? To do it in a sort of integrated way, but to tell a story we thought was important to tell with these characters as well.”

The story will have the feel of “a classic noir”. “At the very beginning, you’re Booker, private detective in Rapture,” explained Levine. Then “a woman comes into your office and offers you a job. And she’s got the femme fatale kind of look, and you two don’t seem to know each other, or you don’t seem to know her,” he said.

“It’s really a story of Booker and Elizabeth again,” Levine explained, “but set against the backdrop of pre-fall Rapture, and to have an extended period in pre-fall Rapture without combat, where you’re just living in the space, like you got to sort of live in Columbia at the beginning of the game. Which nobody has ever been able to do before, with those systems and that technology. My favorite BioShock quest is actually in that part, with no combat. He meets an old friend from BioShock 1. Not a very nice friend, but a friend. And in the second half, it takes place in a department store, a Fontaine department store that’s been shuttered and sunk to the bottom of the ocean by Ryan after he takes over. All of Fontaine’s cronies are put into that department store, so that place has gone to hell. It’s very traditional BioShock 1. They’re all spliced up down there. They’re all crazy. You get this mix of pristine Rapture and a very traditional Rapture experience, in a pretty organic story.”

Levine promised the game will explain why Booker and Elizabeth are in Rapture and not in Columbia.

Burial at Sea will also reconcile the idea of Columbia’s Vigors, which were ingested, with Rapture’s Plasmids, which were injected.

“Game systems are essentially Infinite game systems,” stated Levine. “There’s a reason they’re drinkable in this world. You’ll see why. We did, however, retune the feel of the experience. The system guys have been very hard at work. We wanted the combat, because of the nature of Rapture, to be more player-initiated than it was in Infinite. You know how BioShock game systems are about hearing the enemies at a distance and being able to plan your attack? We wanted more of that. That sort of slipped away from us a little bit in Infinite. Therefore the traps get much more meaningful, I think. We have that system. We did some tweaks to the various Vigors. There’s a new Vigor. There’s a new weapon. And a new Plasmid – they’re called Plasmids in this.”

Though the release date for the Burial at Sea episodes have yet to be announced, the price for each has been revealed to be at $14.99. — TJD, GMA News

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